Come on, come out

Spend the day outside communing with nature. Seriously.
It's like pushing a reset button on your mind and wiping out the crazy.

-Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin in the Skinny Bitch series (which I picked up at the library but don't exactly recommend, although it has its moments.)

I'm a firm believer in the crazy-erasing effect of spending any decent amount of time outside, whether it's a day-long hike in the rainforest or a 20 minute walk down a tree-lined street (which is how I came to take this photo.)

Mars and Venus in interviews

"Well, first off, don't interview a guy if a woman is available. Guys don't notice anything. I probably asked twenty of DiMaggio's teammates about the party after the 1947 World Series at the Waldorf-Astoria. And they'd say, 'Aw it was great! There was a band and everything was first-class. Joe was real happy that night!'

Then I'd ask one of their wives to describe the party. And she'd say, 'Yes, it was a wonderful party. But the flowers were dreadful. And the food was late. And Phil Risutto's mother came in wearing the oddest hat...'

They know everything. Guys are hopeless.

--from the chapter on Richard Ben Cramer in The New New Journalism, in which top-notch nonfiction writers are interviewed about their work habits. I bought it last week for $6 on the discount shelf at Dog Eared Books, and it's been a pretty good read! It's kind of like Coders at Work for journalists.

I've definitely found there are differences in what men and women tend to remember, but I wouldn't say that one gender is better to interview than the other-- the information you get is just different. I've been exasperated at my husband many a time when trying to get details on something emotional or interpersonal ("They broke up? What happened? Well, what did he say? You didn't ask?") but he's amazing at remembering, say, how many miles per gallon his car could get in high school.

It's not surprising that women would have the dirt on what a party was really like-- but I bet every one of those men interviewed could remember the final scores of all seven games of that year's World Series, and lots of them could still give a pretty mean play-by-play.

"Let yourself be inert"

From Marcel Proust's 1907 letter to his friend Georges de Lauris, regarding the recent death of his mother:

"Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her.

When you are used to this horrible thing, that she will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her rightful place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible.

Let yourself be inert, wait until the incomprehensible power ... that has broken you restores you a little, I say 'a little' because henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more."

*this translation I took mostly from the September 13 issue of the New Yorker, which has a really touching compilation of Roland Barthes' notes on mourning. I changed a few words of the translation after finding the original letter in French here.

On seizing the day, and the difficulty thereof

"The truth is that in every way, I am squandering the treasure of my life. It's not that I don't take enough pictures, though I don't, or that I don't keep a diary, though iCal and my monthly Visa bill are the closest I come to a thoughtful prose record of events. 

Every day is like a kid's drawing, offered to you with a strange mixture of ceremoniousness and offhand disregard, yours for the keeping. Some of the days are rich and complicated, others inscrutable, others little more than a stray gray mark on a ragged page. Some you manage to hang on to, though your reasons for doing so are often hard to fathom. But most of them you just ball up and throw away."

--from Michael Chabon's brilliant foray into non-fiction, "Manhood for Amateurs," in which he writes about fatherhood. I'm just about 1/4 of the way in, but I'd highly recommend it.